Poplin vs. Cambric vs. Voile. What’s the Difference?

AT NEEDHAM LANE we mainly work in three different types of woven cotton fabrics: Poplin, Cambric and Voile. While each fabric enjoys their own characteristics, which distinguishes them from one another, it’s important to know what they have in common and then discover how they differ. From a design and function perspective, each are well suited for our needs of creating women’s sleepwear and apparel for our customers.

Firstly, while it’s commonplace to find cotton-polyester blends of these three fabrics in the market, we choose to provide our customers with only 100% woven cotton. Thus, when you purchase items from Needham Lane, you are assured that you are buying pure, natural cotton. No synthetics are blended with our cotton. All cotton fabric is breathable and allows your body to stay dry. Cotton is soft, strong and easy to care for. No need to dry clean your Needham Lane apparel or sleepwear.

Secondly, another common characteristic that these fabrics share is the type of weave used in their construction. In the world of woven fabric, there are basically seven different types of weaving techniques: plain, oxford, twill, herringbone, dobby satin and velvet. Each type of weave gives the fabric its own unique characteristic. Our cotton poplin, cambric and voile are made with the plain weave technique.

In order of their weight and degree of sheerness, poplin is the heaviest and least sheer of the three, cambric is lighter than poplin and less sheer than voile. The term voile is French for “veil”, so you can imagine that it’ll be the lightest of the three and semi-sheer when backlit. See above photographs.

Poplin will use the thickest yarn and have the tightest weave of the three. Poplin is a soft, crisp fabric and is the heaviest of the three fabrics described here. Poplin is great for year-round use. Cambric and voile use a finer yarn than poplin, have a more open weave and are the lightest weight. Both are nice to wear on hot humid summer days. Cambric is slightly heavier than voile. In your hand, they would feel very similar and have nearly the same weight. Cambric, however, has a tighter weave, thicker yarn and is less shear than voile. Pure cotton is the best fabric to wear any time of year.

If you have questions about what fabrics would best suit your needs, please give us a call.